tv Politics Nation MSNBC January 26, 2012 3:00pm-3:26pm PST
brow. he, mitt romney, wants to intervene in the affairs of man to give more to the man on top. he wants to make our tax law more favorable to the very rich than it already is. if newt isn't ready to challenge that in debate, president obama should be. this is going to be a great national election this fall. we can thank newt gingrich for making it an even hotter one. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "politics nation" with al sharpton starts right now. welcome to "politics nation." i'm al sharpton. willard and newt will face off tonight in another huge debate in florida. it comes after a day of intense and personal attacks. we'll cover all the drama live from jacksonville. we begin with this. all of this republican infight meg not matter much. really. not if this economy picks up steam. and, folks, it looks like it is.
the belief that this economy will get better has jumped 16 points since october. it's now at its highest point in a year, and the president's handling of the economy, well, he's seen a net swing of 13 points since just last month. it makes sense. his message connects. >> we do not begrudge success in america. we aspire to it. we want everybody to succeed. just yesterday, bill gates said he agrees with me that most -- that americans who can't afford it should pay their fair share. i promise you, bill gate does not envy the rich. he doesn't envy wealthy people. this has nothing to do with envy. it has everything to do with man. >> and the math is simple. things are adding up. for the president, he has a winning message. plus, an economy that's moving in the right direction.
this is the year for fairness whether the gop likes it or not. joining me now is florida congresswoman debbie wasserman-schultz, chairwoman of the democratic national committee. congresswoman, great to have you with us tonight. >> reverend al, it's always great to be with you. thank you so much. >> let me ask you, madam chairlady, will this election be won or lost on the economy? what's the strongest message the democrats have? >> i think this election, reverend al, will be won by barack obama because he has taken our economy and focused on making sure that everyone in america has an opportunity to be successful. that we can set up the economy to be built to last. taking us from bleeding 750,000 jobs a month when he first took office to now three years later, we've had 22 straight months of job growth in the private sector. a resurgent manufacturing industry. created more jobs there since 1997. and we're pushing hard to make
sure that when it comes to tax policy, there's no incentive for companies like there is now to offshore jobs to other countries. that we can manufacture things and create jobs here in america and make it in america. unlike republicans, the whole field tonight that you will hear continue to try to outright wing each other, ton focus on millionaires and billionaires and give people who are already doing well an opportunity to do even better. and there's nothing wrong with that. but when you only care about people who are already doing well, that's a pretty dramatic contrast between the direction president obama wants to take this country and the republicans. >> there's no doubt about it. but let me be very candid with you, congresswoman. as chair lady of the democratic party, i expect you to say that. so do our viewers. let me play you something we wouldn't expect to hear. mr. willard mitt romney. let me let you hear what he said about the economy. >> how do you answer the president's argument that the economy is getting better in a general election campaign if you yourself are saying that it's
getting better. >> well, of course it's getting better. the economy always gets better after a recession. there's always a recovery. >> isn't that a hard argument to make if you are saying like, okay, he inherited this recession and took a bunch of steps to try to turn the economy around. now we're seeing some more jobs but vote against him anyway? isn't that a hard argument to make? >> it just happens to be the truth. >> it happens to be the truth. willard said the economy is getting better. now i'm sure willard may not say that tonight on the stage. but i didn't give anything for christmas, congresswoman. i'll give you this tape. willard said it himself. >> well, i so appreciate you showing me that mitt romney has acknowledged the economy is doing better and that's just the truth. this way when we catch him saying the opposite as he has on the stage, on the previous 18 debates that we can call him on it. but i think the american people
see that things are getting better. barack obama knows we have a long way to go. that we've got to continue to fight hard to create more jobs. and help make sure that people have an opportunity to do even better. but, you know, we need to work together on that. president obama has focused on trying to bring people together. unfortunately, the republicans continue to only be focused on one job, his, and we're focused on trying, as he mentioned in the state of the union to give everybody in america an opportunity to live the american dream. it's critical. and that is going to be the contrast. >> let me show you newton leroy gingrich, the other contender. he was hitting mr. romney on foreclosures. what he's essentially hitting romney on is how he's unfair in this regard and all of that. let me let you hear what newton had to say. >> here's a guy who owns freddie mac and fannie mae stock. he owns a goldman sachs subsidiary which is foreclosing on floridians.
we wants to run a campaign where he drowns me in mud with money he raises from people foreclosing floridians. i think he has a lot of gall to start raising the issue. i think we ought to find out, so how much money has he made over the years foreclosing on floridians. >> now aside from the personal attacks and i'm sure we'll hear enough of that in the debate, hasn't the president really changed the conversation? because now we have them talking about foreclosures. we have them talking about the economy. hasn't the president really began making them come back to what the american people are really concerned about? >> well, there's not a lot of times i'd say i'd agree with newt gingrich. mitt romney does have a lot of nerve talking about foreclosures. not only because he invested $500,000 in fannie and freddie, but because a few months ago, remember reverend al he said he
didn't think we should do anything to help people remain in their homes. we should just let the housing crisis hit rock bottom and let investors come in and scoop up the properties and sell them for a profit. the other day here in florida, he suggested to homeowners who were struggling to be able to remain in their homes that maybe they could buy each other's houses and swap. i mean, that's how dramatically out of touch he is. then today we learned when it comes to his finances, he didn't include a swiss bank account in his financial disclosure when he filed for president. you want to talk about an oops moment? i've been in office 19 years, reverend al. i wouldn't think that it was okay or that i didn't need to include a swiss bank account on my financial disclosure. it's clear -- >> don't make a big deal -- don't make a big deal out of that. i bet you $10,000 he just forgot it. hold on one second. let's stand by one second.
i want to bring in jerod bernstein. thanks for coming on the show tonight. >> my pleasure, reverend al. >> let me ask you as an economist. in your view, how strong is the economic recovery? >> the economic recovery has something it hasn't had before and that's a little bit of momentum. some of the problems that were holding the economy back have gotten better. they're not all better by any stretch of the imagination. housing appears to have carved out a bottom. it's not getting better. it's not getting a lot worse. the job market now, remember, the unemployment rate peaked at 10% back in late 2009. so now we're talking about a trend. and whether it's unemployment, gdp, job growth itself, basically, the trend is your friend on these measures. we're not anywhere back to where we need to be but we have some momentum moving in the right direction. >> and the fact is if you look at polls, a clear majority of
american people think the richest aren't pair their fair share. how can the republican es run o protecting this unfairness and ignoring the fact that most americans feel that it's unfair. >> it's a critical question, reverend al. throughout this discussion so far, you've talked about the economy and you've talked about fairness. the two do not naturally go together. and this is a point i really want to make right here. you can have economic growth year in, year out. you can have strong productivity growth. you can have the unemployment rate coming down. we saw this in the 2000s and the middle class fell behind. it's not just that they didn't get ahead fast enough. the poverty rates went up in those years as the economy was expanding. so it's not enough. you can't rest your aurels on economic growth. you need to think about the way that's shared. is the prosperity broadly shared or narrowly concentrated at the
top of the income scale. and that's why the mitt romney debate is so important right now because not saying anything about the candidate himself. he embodies so many of the very trends that have led to this level of income concentration, this disconnect between growth and fairness. >> congresswoman, let me ask you before we have to go. one of the things that i think sticks out in this campaign that has bothered me more than anything is that when you raise the question of unfairness, you accused of being envious. and i really think that it is beyond to say that just because people want fairness, that's all, that they are somehow jealous or somehow envious. are the democrats running, not only the president but for congress and senate, are they going to yield any ground on this fight for fairness this year? >> absolutely not. reverend al, as someone on the ballot later this year myself and represents a district here in florida, in south florida, we
as democrats are going to continue to fight to make sure that the tax code is fair for everybody. that everybody has an opportunity to be successful. small business owners benefit from the 17 different tax breaks that barack obama pushed through and that congress passed under our leadership. it's incredibly important that we make sure that when it comes to success, it's not envy. it's just that we need to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to live the american dream. and that trickle down economics which has never worked, it's been proven time and again to fail, not be given a foothold again and will leave the middle class and working families out in the cold. that's the contrast that will be set up once the general election really ensues. >> dnc chair debbie wasserman schultz and jared bernstein. thank you both for joining me. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. ahead -- willard and newt face off tonight after a day of slinging mud. we'll go there live. plus -- >> chris christie under fire for
making some outrageous comments about civil rights. >> the fact of the matter is that i think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dieing ying in the streets. >> i'm responding tonight. and more disrespect for president obama. arizona governor jan brewer pointing at the president. there's an ugly pattern here. we'll talk about it. you're watching "politics nation" on msnbc. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents: the cold truth. i have a cold. and i took nyquil, but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] sorry buddy. truth is, nyquil doesn't un-stuff your nose. what? it doesn't have a decongestant. really? [ male announcer ] you need a more complete cold and flu formula,
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[ male announcer ] for a smoothie with real fruit plus veggie nutrition new v8 v-fusion smoothie. could've had a v8. what does the most feared man in the gop look like? like newton leroy gingrich. the republican establishment is flipping out over newt's recent surge. as politico reports today, panicked conservatives like ann coulter, tom delay, matt drudge and even bob dole are coming out to hammer gingrich before it's too late. they are ready to bring him down. and newt's getting mad.
today he came out swinging ha harder at romney than ever before, preparing for tonight's showdown in the debate. >> we're not going to beat ra ba rack obama with some guy that has swiss bank accounts, cayman bank accounts and is himself a stockholder in fannie mae and freddie mac while he thinks the rest of us are too stupid to put the dots together and understand what this is all about. >> more bad news today for willard. with those swiss bank accounts. as we just heard, romney failed to report more than half dozen offshore holdings in his federal ethics filing. he also failed to disclose income from a multimillion-dollar swiss bank account. he is now revising those ethics forms but is yet another big flub and gingrich is ready to pounce. >> that's how much he thinks
we're stupid. we're not stupid. the message we should give mitt romney is, you know, we aren't that stupid and you aren't that clever. >> joining me now, bob franken, a king feature syndicated columnist and jackie kucinich, national politics reporter for "usa today." she's in jacksonville, florida, tonight. thank you both for being here. >> good evening. >> thank you. >> jackie, you are in jacksonville. what are people saying about newt's explosive comments today? >> you know, i think people who like newt love it. they love seeing gingrich with the fire in the belly. they want to see him -- i was talking to voters today who want to see him take romney out. they really want him to keep hammering on romney. so for the people that love him best, they couldn't be happier that newt is back to being aggressive newt again. >> now let me ask you this, bob. you've covered newt a long time. but just today, just at events
today, newt has called willard grotesquely hypocritical, a liar, shameful, dishonest, fundamentally abusive. you think that pledge of being all positive is over? >> well, as somebody who has covered newt for quite awhile, i am a little bit worried about him. he may be a little tired. obviously, he was having a down day with his adjectives. but i would say that this is probably maybe a standard day. but he really doesn't need to do that. it seems that mitt romney is going out of his way to hand this to him. this disclose buesure about the bank accounts. it raises a red flag with anybody. everybody believes that this is the kind of thing that's associated with organized crime figures and the like. and while there's no indication that's the case with the romneys, apparently their purpose for doing it, according to the spokesman was to have some holdings, millions of dollars of holdings, in
international currency. that's the kind of thing that corporations do. now we know what he means when he says corporations are people. he's the corporation. >> now jackie, you are down there. we know with the established republican machine is saying. what are you hearing from the average people? this is all going to come down to how floridians, republicans that are floridians, are going to vote next tuesday. what are you hearing on the ground in florida? >> i mean, who among us haven't forgotten a swiss bank account or two. it just happens. no, i'm kidding, obviously, but i think it depends on who you talk to really. i mean, different events. you'll talk to different people. i was at a romney event today. and the people -- most of the people there were decided. they were romney supporters and they were saying this guy is solid. he is someone who can lead the country like business and really get things done. you go to gingrich events and you are hearing the same thing
from them saying he's got passion. he'll beat obama. you hear that from gingrich people about them wanting gingrich to take the president to task in a debate. i think that's one of the things driving his popularity. i think people are really excited about that possibility. in addition to, they think he's a really smart guy. so again, it depends on who you talk to as to whether mitt or newt. but it seems to be coming down to those two. >> now who is drawing the best crowds, by the way? >> gingrich. i mean, well, i haven't been to all of romneys events. thousands of people. i was at one yesterday in cocoa beach. and he just -- he is pulling tons and tons of people. but, you know, who knows if that will translate into votes. i mean, santorum had huge crowds in new hampshire and we saw how that worked out. so it -- all those people doesn't necessarily translate into votes. there's a lot of interest in newt gingrich right now. >> bob, you've seen debates come
and go. but tonight is critical because it could really decide if the polls are right, as close as this is, it could decide who tips toward having the momentum into tuesday. what does willard have to do tonight, particularly in light of the swiss accounts that he did not disclose coming out? what does newt have to do tonight? >> well, i think what mr. romney has to do is to have it translated into the various languages of switzerland, for one thing. all that gingrich ark parentally has to do is say things like swiss bank accounts and all this type of thing. we haven't even gotten to the immigration debate. but really, right now, newt probably just has to play defensive judo. it looks like when someone is mauling themselves, you just stand back. that seems to be what's happening. jackie a moment ago brought up crystallized pretty much the romney argument which is that the campaign -- the country needs somebody who has business
experience. he certainly does have business experience with the disclosures about where his money has gone in foreign countries. the business is one like those that are outsourcing all the time. >> i think that that's going to come to harm him. clearly saying the business experience. but then you don't disclose everything doesn't -- if that's your calling card, doesn't look well. jackie, how much and how important is the latino vote in florida, and who seems to be faring better in that community? romney is faring better among cubans. but the hispanic vote isn't as big of a deal in the primary as it is the general. it's important. make no mistake. but it's not as pivotal as it will be. and, you know, romney's had some issues. immigration isn't necessarily the most important issue to hispanics. but it's -- i read today, someone said it sets a tone and that's one of the reasons jeb
bush wouldn't endorse romney because of his immigration stance. i think going forward, there needs -- romney needs to figure out a way to talk about that in a way that isn't offensive or doesn't seem abrasive to the his spannic community. >> a lot of these primaries so far and caucus has been driven by the anger, the apparent anger of the republican voter, the tea party-type voter. does the fact that the establishment is going after newt help him or hurt him? >> right now, he certainly is turning it to his advantage. we have to be fair and point out the politics of resentment that everybody talks about is universal this year. everybody is running a campaign of resentment, including barack obama who is appealing to those who resent those who believe that the wealthy are abusing the system. >> bob franken and jackie kucinich, thank you both for joining us. >> thank you. coming up -- a big boost for
president obama. the brand new nbc poll straight ahead. plus -- new outrage over a man's ridiculous response to charges of racial profiling and harassment in his town. stay with us. we are the house when it comes to the big game. yeah. it's his thing. i don't even participate. boom! here it comes! bring it back! bring it home! [ male announcer ] when you combine creamy velveeta with zesty rotel tomatoes and green chilies,
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